Maybe most employment scams aren’t quite so blatant but subtlety is definitely not a major factor in the world of the job scam artist. Unfortunately, a real need for money and the lack of understanding how the work world runs, make college students prime targets for a wide range of employment scams.
UA Career Services has seen an increase in this type of fraudulent activity in the last six months. We urge students to use due diligence when responding to job opportunities. There are several red flags that should immediately trigger a skeptical response.
THE RED FLAGS
- Receiving an unsolicited email offering you an incredible opportunity.
- Time limitations…this offer is only good for the next 24 hours.
- Little or no standards…you express an interest in the position and (wah-lah!) it’s YOURS.
- A requirement that you send money for any reason. Bottom line, DON’T do it.
- Vague or irrational responsibilities.
- Communication from the employer contains poor grammar, misspellings, typos.
- Offers to send you a check before you’ve done any work.
- Sends you a check that you are to deposit in your account and then purchase money orders to send elsewhere.
- An email that is not the company’s email. (i.e you get an offer supposedly from some huge, Fortune 500 company, but your only contact comes from a hotmail account.)
The most basic rule of thumb regarding employment opportunities: if the employer requires up front money from you, walk away. Better yet, run. It doesn’t matter how they couch it. If your payment is supposedly for application fees, training material, supplies, whatever, DON’T send money, ever.
A variation on this theme is where they send you an inordinately large check, ask that you take a small portion out for yourself and then wire the rest to some client. Ultimately, their large check proves bad (i.e. bounces) and unfortunately, those money orders you went and purchased were all good…at your expense.
Any time a brand new employer sends a big check your way, be highly suspicious. This happened to UA Freshman and pre-business major, Nigel Scott Diocson. It is a classic case and fortunately, Nigel intuitively sensed something was off kilter almost from the beginning. (See Nigel’s accompanying story).
we're keeping a close eye on Wildcat JobLink
UA is attempting to find clues of how to spot potentially illegitimate work opportunities on Wildcat JobLink. Currently, Career Services culls through the lists of email contacts on job listings, looking for individuals that have contact emails that do not end in the .com extension. Any contact that lists their email from aol, gmail, hotmail or yahoo gets a second look. These listings are contacted directly, in an effort to determine why they do not have a company email. If the legitimacy of the offering cannot be verified, the offer is eliminated immediately.
But hey…while slaving away on this article, I just got an email that smacks (of course I mean $mack$) of opportunity. In fact, I’ve gotten a couple. I’m excited by the one offering $1,000 a month for part-time work.
The friendly little missive is purportedly from a company called C&N and opens with “We are interested in offering you a work from home part time job it does not require any professional skill in doing the job.” (I’m not offended, I’m impressed. How did they KNOW I have no professional skills?)
Despite the lack of punctuation and awkward syntax, I eagerly read on. But wait. I am instructed to reply with “your person email”. Hmmmm. My “person” email. I’m not sure what this even means. What do you think? It’s so very tempting. I could really use that extra $1,000 a month.